Craig’s PICs Voter Recommendations for the June 7, 2022 primary election

Starting Monday, May 9, 2022, voters will start seeing their ballots in the mail. While “election day” is June 7, 2022, the vast majority of voters will likely vote early via the U.S. Mail, a secure dropbox, an early voting center or by taking their ballots to the Registrar of Voters office in Santa Ana, CA.

For those interested in my voter recommendations you can access them here:

I hope you find them helpful. I also recommend you check out Robyn Nordell’s voter web site at https://robynnordell.com/county/orange/ At this site you can find Robyn’s recommendations, mine and some other friends. We don’t always agree but we love that!

Open The Schools Without Politics

As of June 3, 2020, the CDC reported that there have been 20 deaths in children in the U.S. due to COVID-19. In my home county of Orange in California, no child has died due to COVID-19. JAMA Pediatrics for May 11, 2020 had this to say: “Finally, it is important to emphasize that the overall burden of COVID-19 infection in children remains relatively low compared with seasonal influenza.”

We have never closed schools or forced children to wear masks during an influenza season. Yet the CDC has issued guidelines recommending face coverings for elementary school–aged children, social distancing, reduced classroom populations, and other suggestions that make little scientific or common sense.

To put some of the COVID statistics into perspective: Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. In 2017, 675 children 12 years old and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and nearly 116,000 were injured. In the same year, according to the CDC, drownings claimed the lives of almost 1,000 U.S. children. That is 50 times greater than COVID-19! As a result, would you favor closing down all swimming pools in the United States?

The argument that children should wear face coverings to prevent the asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus to a high-risk teacher or administrator is also fallacious. First of all, there is little if any evidence that asymptomatic children are spreading COVID-19 to adults. Indeed, the World Health Organization issued a report on June 8 indicating little evidence of asymptomatic transmission of the virus.

Secondly, the way a healthy society ought to handle individuals at risk for any disease is to protect those at risk, not mandate a solution affecting the other 99%. For example, a recovering cancer patient whose immune system is suppressed from chemotherapy ought to stay at home during a declared pandemic or take extra precautions (face shield, mask, gloves) when in public spaces.

Mandatory face coverings on children is very harmful to the child: learning is inhibited; critical interactions among students and between student and teacher are fractured; and the face covering is counterproductive, as kids will naturally touch their faces, thereby contaminating their covering. This new normal that many are advocating may well lead to a spike in childhood behavior problems such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, and depression, to name a few.

I believe that the path forward for our country is to achieve sufficient herd immunity from COVID-19 to protect the majority of the population. One of the best mechanisms to protect the highest-risk folks is to allow the lowest risk individuals (children and young adults) to develop protective antibodies. When that happens, the COVID-19 virus will be less likely to spread. We cannot achieve herd immunity by effectively quarantining a substantial number of the healthy members of the herd. Our schools should never have been shut down in March to begin with, and now they should be opened with few restrictions. A healthy society quarantines the contagious, protects the most vulnerable, and lets everyone else operate freely.

My prescription for opening the schools:

  1. Children should not be required to wear face coverings.
  2. Classroom size should not be reduced — no social distancing is necessary for children.
  3. Temperature checks should be performed regularly and ill children, teachers, or staff should be sent home.
  4. Good hygiene with frequent hand-washing and the use of hand sanitizer should be encouraged.
  5. Classrooms, meeting rooms, and administrative offices should be thoroughly cleaned each night.
  6. Higher-risk teachers and staff should consider working remotely or using PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) at school.

    There are already financial strains on our public education system. Further politicizing school openings will drive more parents to homeschool or to seek out more child-friendly environments such as charter schools or private schools. Of course, in the latter case, that could be a silver lining emerging from the COVID-19 crisis and limit continuing governmental overreach.

Memorial Day – a Reminder that Freedom is not Free!

See iconic D-Day black and white photos brought to life in colorWhenever I look at this photograph it reminds me that Freedom is not Free – as we celebrate Memorial Day this year let us never forget the men and women who “gave their last measure of devotion” by laying down their lives so that we could live in freedom.  We should all enjoy our BBQ, going to the beach or park or whatever you like to do (even in this strange COVID-19 situation we find ourselves in) on a holiday weekend.  But we should always remember those who fought and died to allow us that freedom and liberty – and never take those liberties for granted.

On Memorial Day I always remember my Great Uncle Peter Powell who died a year or so after the end of World War I – from complications of mustard gas he suffered in the trenches of France. Because of that I was never able to meet him.  But I honor him and look forward to the day I will meet him.  On that day I will say “Thank you Uncle Peter”.

For those of you who are too young to remember this photo – it was taken on June 6, 1044 – D-Day when the allies landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to liberate Europe and topple Nazi Germany.

28th Senate District Analysis

While not as high profile as the 25th Congressional District’s Tuesday race, the 28th State Senate District also had a vacancy needing to be filled.

State Senator Jeff Stone had previously resigned when offered a job in the Trump Administration.

In his wake, the 28th Senatorial District became a battleground for Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, and Democratic Board of Education trustee Elizabeth Romero.

As of this moment, Assemblywoman Melendez is ahead in the binary race with 55.89% of the vote. The next update will be given by the registrar on Friday.

Turnout hovers at just under 35% for the senatorial district. Its unlikely that Romero will be able to make up the gap as last minute mail-in ballots make it to the registrar.

Expect this seat to remain in Republican hands.

25th Congressional District Analysis

A special election was held last night in the 25th Congressional district. Political junkies will remember that the seat was held formerly by Rep. Katie Hill who stepped down after admitting too engaging in inappropriate conduct with a campaign staffer.

With her term almost over, Republican Mike Garcia and Democrat Assemblywoman Kristy Smith were thought to be deadlocked for the seat.

As this is being written, Mike Garcia has significant lead of 11.8%.

Last night, Garcia’s campaign released a statement saying they would wait to declare victory until they had a clearer picture of the results. Due to the shift in mail-in ballots, the final vote tally is not expected for at least another 7 days.

While there is little chance the 11.8% lead slips away from Mike Garcia, calls for Assemblywoman Smith to concede the election have already begun.

It’s likely she won’t for at least a few days considering how Democrats have performed late in California elections post-2018.

In 2018, Rep. Hill won the seat that was previously held by Republican Steve Knight by 8 points. Many other congressional seats saw a Republican come out as the front runner on election night, but overtaken as more votes rolled in.

Let’s see if the trend continues.

Beachfront Congressman Harley Rouda Critiques Beachgoers from the Beach

Rep. Rouda doesn’t trust the people of his district to go out in the sun. Or does he? The beachfront Congressman’s tune seems to shift whether or not he is enjoying his air-conditioned mansion or the pristine beachfront.

As re-election looms for the freshman congressperson, it makes sense why he is tough to nail down on the issue.

On one hand, Rep. Rouda has consistently critiqued those local elected officials prone to reopening wherever possible during the COVID-19 outbreak, even going after Supervisor Michelle Steel for wearing a mask during a Board of Supervisors meeting. Its not coincidence that she is the Republican nominee for his seat in November.

Rouda has consistently called the move to open beaches reckless.

His reckless comments came to an end however when he was caught on camera enjoying the waterfront for himself. His excuse: he was social distancing – so it’s okay.

In the days to follow the Representative’s campaign has made a shaky 180 on the topic, praising select cities for opening responsibly and even calling beaches “essential spaces.”

“Our beaches and local economies cannot remain vacant and shuttered until a vaccine is developed.” Rouda’s campaign said.

Rep. Rouda is up for re-election in November. While the 48th district is projected to lean democratic, voter registration in the district favors the Republican party.

2020 Primary Analysis: Los Angeles County District Attorney

One of the more interesting local races on the ballot was the race for Los Angeles County District Attorney. We featured this race in our preview of LA County primary races here. Jackie Lacey is the incumbent DA and she faced a challenged from both San Francisco County DA George Gascon and former public defender Rachel Rossi.

Los Angeles County shows the following party registration for the three largest political groups (the source is http://www.l2political.com):

Republican- 16.8%
Democrat- 52.1%
NPP- 25.7%

Lacey first one the seat in 2012 in a race to replace Steve Cooley who was not running for re-election. In the 2012 election, she finished in first place for the June election but did not clear 50%. She went on to face second place finisher Alan Jackson in the November election where she defeated him by a margin of 55% to 45%.

2016 was a free run for Lacey who drew no opponent in the primary election.

With a strong challenge from Gascon who is running as the more liberal of the two candidates, this race was an interesting one to watch for the primary. Here are the March 2020 results:

Jackie Lacey- 48.7%
George Gascon- 28.2%
Rachel Rossi- 23.1%

Because Lacey did not clear 50% in the primary, she will face off in the November general election against Gascon.

Lacey did well enough in March that I am confident with her potential for the November election. However, Jim McDonnell got nearly 48% in the primary race for LA County Sheriff back in 2018 and still lost to Alex Villanueva in November by a margin of 53% to 47%. I predict somewhat nervously that Jackie Lacey will win in November.

CD 25 Special Election Preview

We will commence with our local election analysis series as the week progresses. Before we get to those posts, I wanted to take a moment to update our readers on what to expect in the upcoming special election in the 25th Congressional District. The election is taking place two weeks from tomorrow.

You can go back and read our analysis of the March election by clicking here. As a reminder, this race is between Mike Garcia (R) and Christy Smith (D).

Considering that the vast majority of CD 25 is within the boundaries of Los Angeles County, we can likely expect a very low turnout in this election. My rationale for this statement is based on the fact that LA County will likely still be under some form of lockdown on election day.

Westminster is one of the few examples we have of an election taking place during the time of Covid-19. Results in Westminster showed a great success for the Republican backed candidates.

Here are turnout percentages for Westminster to provide comparison:

April 2020 Special Election- 38.0%
March 2020 Primary Election- 46.7%
November 2018 General Election- 65.7%

These numbers show me that we can see something in the neighborhood of a 10% decrease in votes from the March 2020 election. With more Republicans turning out in March than Democrats, this seat will likely flip.

I am now predicting that on May 12th Mike Garcia will be the winner. We can reevaluate what to expect in November once we see the results from this election; however, Garcia being the incumbent would be a definite advantage.

Analysis Update 4-25-2020

Just to give our update on analysis postings, we have finished analyzing all Congressional, Senate, and Assembly races in SoCal. They have continued to be some of our most popular posts.

This coming week, we will begin posting analysis of all remaining races in SoCal.


2020 Primary Analysis: 80th Assembly District

The 80th Assembly District falls entirely within the boundaries of San Diego County. Lorena Gonzalez (D) is the incumbent in this race. Gonzalez won a special election in 2013 after the resignation of Ben Hueso.

This district shows the following party registration for the three largest political groups (the source is http://www.l2political.com):

Republican- 15.7%
Democrat- 47.8%
NPP- 30.6%

Here are the result for the June 2018 race:

Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D)- 70.5%
Lincoln Pickard (R)- 29.5%
Joseph Viveiros (R) (Write-In)- 0.0% (3 Votes)

We saw a total of 54,559 ballots cast in the primary. Gonzalez easily won in November by a margin of 66.8% to 33.2%

With Gonzalez coming out as the face of AB 5 which attacks the gig economy (e.g. Uber, Lyft, etc…), I saw potential for a Dem challenger coming in and taking her seat. Only Republicans challenged her in the primary though. Here are the March 2020 results:

Lorena Gonzalez (D)- 72.7.7%
Lincoln Pickard (R)- 9.4%
John Vogel (R)- 17.9%

78,205 ballots were cast in this race. The increased turnout and lack of a challenger from the left (Note what happened to Tyler Diep).

We will now see a matchup between Lorena Gonzalez (D) and John Vogel (R). Gonzalez is the elected incumbent and Vogel works for the San Diego Health & Human Services Industry.

If Vogel was a Democrat, I would bet that companies impacted by AB 5 would rally behind him. Since he is not, he will likely be left on his own. I predict that Lorena Gonzalez will win in November.

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